Critical Internationalism and the Struggles for Life

Gilberto López y Rivas

The Jorge Alonso Professorship recently published one more book of its prolific editorial collection: Critical Internationalism and Struggles for Life: Towards the Construction of Future Horizons from Resistance and Autonomies, in free circulation (ítico-y-luchas-por-la-vida-haciala-construcción-de-horizontes-futuros). Dedicated to the memory of Pablo González Casanova, Comandante Pablo Contreras, and coordinated by anthropologist Francisco de Parres Gómez, the collective work has chapters by 19 authors in solidarity with the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), and which are situated in “diverse territories, struggles and processes linked to the critical thinking necessary to face the global challenges of our time,” covering in its almost 600 pages, four thematic axes that interconnect and complement each other: 1) internationalism in the 21st century to transversalize struggles; 2) the importance of women in revolutionary processes; 3) another art, another culture and other means of communication, and 4) alternatives in the face of the global crisis, preceded by an introduction that announces songs of hope and realizable utopias.

From different perspectives, and with the nuances and personal and professional variations of this motley collective of knowledge, the book discusses the global, multifactorial, civilizational and planetary polycrisis that humanity is experiencing, expressed in climate change, the increasingly dangerous international situation due to serious inter-state armed conflicts and global state terrorism, which can unleash strategic confrontations between the world power blocs, the forms of militarized and criminal capitalist accumulation, which take on the character of “unrecognized internal armed conflicts,” and bloody processes of recolonizing occupations of vast territories subject to corporate plundering, in which the so-called “organized crime” participates with increasing frequency, causing massive population displacements, massacres, femicides and repression of community resistance and the subaltern classes that fight for the survival of the human species and for life on the planet.

It is precisely in this adverse context against the current that the CNI and EZLN propose their initiatives, which could be considered a strenuous effort to build the critical internationalism of the 21st century, by undertaking the immeasurable task of visiting the corners of below and to the left of the five continents, to find emancipatory alternatives to the ongoing collapse that capitalism is provoking throughout the world.

The works as a whole, in one way or another, recognize the efforts of the Mayan Zapatistas in what has been called the 40/30/20 anniversaries, that is, the 40th anniversary of the founding of this organization attached to national liberation and that vindicates historical Zapatismo, the 30th anniversary of the beginning of its armed uprising on the memorable January 1, 1994 and the 20th anniversary of the creation of the caracoles, one of the autonomous expressions of its governments of commanding by obeying. In a way, and without intending to do so, the authorial collective pays homage to the brothers/sisters of the EZLN for this pilgrimage through the spheres of a political practice that, in the opposite pole of the political class and the supervised lefts, seek the “everything for everyone, nothing for us.”

Singled out as localists and radical autonomists, the Mayan Zapatistas have insisted over the years, in proposing far-reaching initiatives such as the National Democratic Convention in 1994, the first American Encounter for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism in 1996, or Intergalactic Encounter, the March of the thousand 111 Zapatistas in 1997, the March color of the earth (2001), the Encounter of the Zapatista Peoples with the Peoples of the World (2007), the Festival of Dignified Rage (2008), the extraordinary experience of the Escuelita Zapatista (2013-14), and a year later The Critical Thought in the face of the Capitalist Hydra, among others, and the singular initiative of seeking to inscribe on the ballot of the 2018 presidential elections the spokesperson of the CNI, María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, and what is the Declaration for Life, released in 2021, which signifies a singular call in defense of humanity.

The book in question is a beacon of rebelliousness and anti-systemic dreams that, like a lighthouse in the dark night of betrayals, pragmatism and opportunism of institutional politics and the domesticated left, illuminates the boats so that they arrive safely at the port of critical thought that neither tires nor surrenders.

Original text publishe in La Jornada on November 24th, 2023.
English translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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